It takes lots of time and commitment to have a rewarding homeschool experience
Have you ever thought that there was one perfect way of homeschooling? That there must be some kind of formula to be used, that once applied in the right way, would guarantee perfectly educated children? I used to think that once parents and children found that magic formula, that the home would be popping out happy children one right after another. I quickly found this not to be the case. There is not a perfect homeschooling method that works for everyone.
It's easy once you start homeschooling to have some expectations that were way off course. You can start to think that everyday would just be a happy day with children eager to see what was planned because learning together was going to be such an adventure. There are homes like that. I have seen them. But, alas, God created us all to be individuals and each and every home will be individual as well. Having a never-ending “happy day” is not how I would describe most homeschools, but then again, that is not how I would describe many real life experiences either. So, I would encourage anyone who is struggling with those same unmet expectations to not be discouraged. We all live in the real world.
There is no perfect curriculum out there that will work fantastically with every child. Many curriculum company's market their materials as an investment (translation: expensive) because you can use it with each child. This is generally not the case. You might be able to use generally the same style and/or philosophy, but not piece of material. And you wouldn't want to. Every child is an individual with unique needs, desires and talents. What works with Janey, won’t necessarily work with Josh. You want to avoid investing heavily in curriculum that looks great, but will not work great with your family. Instead of pre-packaged, pricey curriculums, we found other ways of educating that did not kill the family budget (I’ll write more about keeping educational expenses down in a later article).
It is a commitment to homeschool. Sometimes the family schedule suffers a little in the beginning and doesn't just run right along like a well-oiled machine right away. It takes some time, but soon with the help from each and every member of the family to pitch in and work together in order to turn chaos into civility. Children have to be directed and have a schedule. It will not happen on its own, but it can happen with repetition and consistency (our family is still working on this).
I think one of the biggest lessons that needs to be learned is to not be disappointed that children do not act like adults. I know it sounds very strange, but I think that somewhere in the back of our minds that we kind of expected our kids to “just get” why it is important not to leave sticky freezepop wrappers all over the house without throwing them away. We forgot that kids are kids and need repetition and review each and every day. Consistent nurturing needs to be there for them to become adults so that one day they will not leave their socks in the middle of the living room floor as soon as they come in the house like they do now . That is the goal anyway. Raising great adults takes time. Lots of time.